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World Cup preview: Ivory Coast

June 3, 2010

Will Ivory Coast be celebrating this Summer?

Having given the country a slight glimpse of the Honduran National team in the last week, it’s now the time of Ivory Coast to make an introduction to those of you who may not know too much about them.

Ivory Coast didn’t make the best of starts to their 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign with an unconvincing 1-0 victory over minnows Mozambique, followed by draws with Madagascar and Botswana away. However, they hit form on home turf, smashing 4 past Botswana in the return match, before a 3-0 win over Madagascar. These victories came either side of another disappointing draw away from home, as Mozambique again upset the odds to hold Coast to 1-1. Despite such poor away form, Ivory Coast qualified for the 3rd round of the African section where they would come up against slightly stiffer opposition such as Guinea and Burkina Faso. Nevertheless, Ivory Coast cruised past Malawi (5-0), before seeing off Guinea (2-1) and Burkina Faso (3-2) in the first 3 matches. Another 5-0 win, this time against Burkina Faso, was followed by a 1-1 draw with Malawi and an excellent 3-0 win at home to Guinea. This was more than enough to see Ivory Coast through to the World Cup finals in South Africa.

– Their nickname is ‘The Elephants’.
– The 2010 World Cup will be their 2nd competition after the 2006 finals in Germany ended in group stage disappointment.
– They’ve won the African Cup of Nations only once, back in 1992.
– Ivory Coast are notable for having participated in (and won) the two highest scoring penalty shoot-outs in International Football competitions – The 24-shot shoot-out in the final of the 1992 African Cup of Nations (Ivory Coast 11-10 Ghana), and the 24-shot shoot-out in 2006 African Cup of Nations (Ivory Coast 12-11 Cameroon).
– Former Tottenham midfielder Didier Zokora is their most capped player with 80 appearances, whilst Chelsea’s Didier Drogba holds the record for the most goals with 44.

Watch out for
Arthur Boka (27 years old; 5ft5; 65kg)

Arthur Boka’s left foot is the main reason I’ve pinpointed him as the one to watch in this Summer’s World Cup finals. His dead-ball expertise may be a very important tool for The Elephants in the competition, but with Didier Drogba sure to stand in his way when a free-kick is awarded, he may find it hard to get a chance in front of goal. However, his experience in the backline will be something that new boss Sven-Goran Eriksson will doubtless look towards when Coast come up against Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portuguese teammates.

Boka plays his football in Germany with VFB Stuttgart, but made his name in Europe with French giants Marseille. Despite being one of the smallest players in the tournament at just 5ft5, Premier League clubs would be foolish to turn a blind eye to the talents of this diminutive left-back.

Star Player
Didier Drogba – Chelsea

There’s not much more to say about Didier Drogba that hasn’t already been said. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s aggressive, and he’ll be a ruddy big handful for all defences in the tournament. His goals will be priceless for a side full of flair and talent, and he may be the one player who can get Ivory Coast to the quarter-finals or even beyond. With Drogba in your side, you can beat anyone, and John Terry and co. should be quaking in their boots at the prospect of stopping the Premier League’s leading scorer.

Quarter-finals, with the potential to go further.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 4, 2010 8:10 am

    Class photo!!!!!!!. Welcome here

  2. wendel permalink
    June 15, 2010 11:22 pm

    They are looking the goods! maybe the will be able to give the world cup regulars a good shake up this year! Those jerseys are looking strangely familiar to socceroos jerseys I wonder if they have the same designer!


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